DETROIT — The Maharaja’s modern day continues. Jinder Mahal is still WWE Champion, and Shinsuke Nakamura remains a strong style king without a crown, despite a knock-down Detroit fistfight that landed him closer to SmackDown LIVE’s ultimate prize than almost anybody who has challenged Mahal.
With The Singh Brothers patrolling ringside as always, Mahal’s main concern was weathering the early storm of Nakamura’s unorthodox offense, designed to weaken both mind and body in equal measure. Possessing a significant strength advantage, The Modern Day Maharaja leaned hard on his power to stifle WWE's Rockstar each time it seemed like Nakamura was beginning to pull away.
But pull away he did, unleashing a storm of knees on The Modern Day Maharaja that left him in ruins on the ring apron. A timely interference by The Singh Brothers ended in disaster for Sunil & Samir but allowed Mahal the wherewithal to dodge a knee drop off the apron, keeping his hopes of victory alive. Nakamura, too, stayed in the thick of things, scurrying out of the Khallas and chasing off the meddlesome Singh Brothers.
Yet, even after being ejected by the official, Sunil & Samir proved their worth, distracting the ref after Nakamura landed a devastating Kinshasa on Mahal’s head, which gave their boss enough recovery time to grab the ropes and break up what would have been a decisive pinfall. And Mahal, who had leaned so heavily on the Singhs' assistance to win and retain his title, proved he was just as deadly without his helpers, dodging a Kinshasa attempt that landed Nakamura knee-first into the turnbuckle. Reeling from the impact, The Artist staggered backward into a brutal Khallas, which put him down for the 1-2-3.
An inspired effort, the optimum challenger, a perfect storm of circumstances, and yet for Shinsuke Nakamura, the WWE Title remained just out of reach. And for the WWE Universe, the question of who will defeat The Modern Day Maharaja remains unanswered.